Somebody Loves You

Valentine's Day is always a challenging day. The kids are focused on the cards and the candy and the candy and the . . . well, you know.

I like to turn it around so that they start to think of something else. Specifically, other people.

So I read them this book.

It's about a man with no friends whose life is changed when he receives an anonymous Valentine. I have to warn you, you might need a tissue. I had a couple of fourth graders (and a Special Ed para) with damp eyes.

After we read the book, I lead the kids to think about the people at our school who don't have a class of students to give them Valentines. People like the custodians, the lunch ladies, the specials teachers, and the office staff. We discuss how Mr. Hatch was so happy to believe someone loved him, and how we might make the people at our campus feel the same way. And I tell them they are going to make Valentines for those special folks.

I explain that our Valentines are going to be anonymous, like the one Mr. Hatch received. We talk about how Mr. Hatch walked around town, wondering if he'd run into the person who sent him his Valentine. We wonder if our people will question which of the 850 students at our school made them a Valentine.

I always have to do a mini-lesson on picture and text placement on a greeting card (I bring a few examples to share.) We brainstorm sayings that might be included. One little brainiac suggested we sign them "Your Secret Admirer," since that is what Mr. Hatch thought about the person who sent his Valentine.

Then I hand out white construction paper and we get to work. 

At the end of the day, I put all the Valentines in the mailboxes of the people we named. 

Somebody loves you, Converse staff!


I'm a Guest Today

I am a guest blogger on my friend Daliene's blog today. It's not educationally related, but if you like a love story, go check it out.

Daliene's Alamo Adventures



It was the full moon and I had a looong week at school with lots of meetings. Those of you teachers out there can infer what kind of tired I am. Those of you who read this and aren't teachers can't understand because you don't have the schema the teachers do.

I taught a wonderful set of lessons on inferring. Thank goodness for the internet, because I would never have come up with all of this on my own!

First, I used this great free PowerPoint from the fabulous Emily Kissner. Go check out her blog (after you finish reading this!) for her many wonderful ideas and resources.

Then I introduced the idea of CSI. My kids know all about the tv show. They could tell me that the investigators in the show look for clues and make inferences. Then I showed them the CSI poster I made, and they all created one in their reader's notebooks. Here's what that poster looks like.

The following day, I used Classroom Magic's fabulous idea on using commercials to infer. This lesson was so engaging to the students! They loved watching the commercials! After we watched (we started with the Doritos/missing cat commercial), we recorded our ideas in our reader's notebooks.

First we wrote the question, "What happened?" Together we formulated an answer. Then we wrote down the question, "How do I know?" Then the magic happened. Students shared clues from the commercial. We wrote them down and coded them with a c. They noticed everything! Then we talked about our schema, and what helped us understand the clues so that we could make an inference. I thought that would take a lot of prodding, but it didn't. The kids really got it. When we wrote down those ideas, we coded them with an s.

Then we did the same thing using the Volkswagen/Darth Vader kid commercial. This time, I asked the students to work with a partner to talk about and record clues and schema. After they had some time to work, I called them back together and we shared what we had written.

I was so impressed by the work the kids did. They really enjoyed the activity and begged to do it again the next day, even my tough kid who hates everything we do. Of course, I agreed.

The next day, we used the happy grad commercial and a commercial I love that is not part of Classroom Magic's links. Here is the link to the Budweiser Clydesdale's commercial. I know, beer. But the commercial is not overtly selling beer, and the message of the commercial is great. The kids were rock stars in coming up with clues and schema.

Here is a picture of my notes - I keep a notebook and write in it along with the kids.

Didn't they have great thinking? And, as one student noted, we wrote so much!

Next up: the amazing Chris Van Allsburg unit by Runde's Room.


February Currently

It's time for Farley's monthly Currently linky!

First, don't you love the graphics?! Great job, Farley! This is one of my favorite backgrounds so far!

I am a big fan of women's sports. A big group of us go the the UTSA women's basketball games and cheer our fool heads off for our team. The softball coach for the university came up to us and asked us to consider coming to those games as well. So we did. The girls were thrilled with our cheering (heckling) abilities and invited us to a meet and greet before the season this year.

This has been a really long week at school. We had a parent night Thursday and I need time to recover.

As for my pet peeve, if you watch tv with me, you might find me correcting the grammar of the people  on the shows. I've corrected the husband of the couple in the show I'm watching twice so far while working on this post. He needs some help with his I and me confusions.

Don't worry - I don't judge my friends. But I will edit your work for you!

Now go visit Farley and check out all the other people who have linked up! Don't forget the rule of three!

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